Release Date: July 30th, 1976
Directed by: Jeff Lieberman
Written by: Jeff Lieberman
Music by: Robert Prince
Cast: Don Scardino, Patricia Pearcy, R.A. Dow, Jean Sullivan, Peter MacLean, Fran Higgins, William Newman, Barbara Quinn
American International Pictures, 93 Minutes
This is a movie released towards the end of American International Picture’s existence. It is films like Squirm that helped lead to the studio’s demise four years later. Granted, I can’t say it hurt the studio financially, one would have to assume it did, but it hurt AIP with the fact that it was one of many later movies in their catalog that was just pure shit.
Between the era of giant radioactive insects and the birth of the slasher era, weird creature features were sort of the norm in horror. This is an example of that subgenre at its worst.
The movie expects its audience to be afraid of lethargic flesh eating earthworms. Sure, certain worms can generally be gross but are they that threatening when you see one on the ground? And can they actually catch up to you, if all you take is one step? Slow moving zombies are easily avoidable and these worms are much slower than that.
Squirm is a stupid movie. I guess all the plausible animals were already used but honestly, Piranha hadn’t come out yet, so there were still some better choices. Besides, many of these creature features reuse the same animals over and over. I mean, how many small flying creature films have there been since Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds in 1963? There is close to a million insect species that haven’t been touched and that’s not an exaggeration.
This isn’t so much of a review about Squirm, as it is a rant against these types of movies. Sure, there can be good ones and there are but for the most part, this is the kind of shit that usually requires no wit or imagination in its creation. I can pick any random critter, make it eat people and turn that into a mid 70s low budget horror film with probably some moderate success.
Squirm makes the awful motion picture Frogs look like a good movie. At least frogs are tricky little buggers and quick as hell. And Frogs benefited from having Ray Milland in it.
Sure, Squirm has a few gross out moments but nothing to really petrify its audience. The scene where the kid almost drinks a worm in the nasty soda concoction he had made is icky – for the beverage and the worm. Also, the scene where the girl opens the bedroom door to get smothered by a wall of worms was a pretty neat moment. But icky and neat don’t constitute the makings of a good picture.
If you feel the need to waste your time on this boring dud, at least watch it on Mystery Science Theater 3000. It is actually a laugh out loud hilarious episode, especially because of the short they watch before the picture.